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Five gentlemen have the distinction of having served as CEO of NAFCU. While two are officially retired, two others are still working with credit unions, while current NAFCU CEO Fred Becker is in his fifth year at the helm. Credit Union Times offers this update on what these CEOs are up to today. Fred Becker – 2000-present ARLINGTON, Va.-Fred Becker replaced the retiring Ken Robinson as NAFCU’s current president and CEO early in 2000. Since that time, he has made enhancing the federal charter his and NAFCU’s mission. Becker spurred the organization to develop its `Guiding Principles,’ which includes such lofty goals as pursuit of field of membership changes, maintaining an independent regulator and insurer, and examining alternative capital options. An extensive feature on Becker’s five years at NAFCU ran on the front page of the April 27, 2005 edition of Credit Union Times. Before coming to NAFCU, Becker was the Naval Affairs director for the Reserve Officers Association of the United States. He had retired from the Navy as a captain, having served as an officer in the judge advocate general’s office. Becker held numerous positions from chief of staff to the associate director to legislative director to senior counsel to the chief personnel executive. Becker was admitted to the bar of the Virginia Supreme Court in 1979 and remains an associate member today. He earned an MBA in finance from Pamplin College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, a JD from College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree from the Naval Academy in analytical management. Becker’s military service earned him the Presidential Service Badge, Legion of Merit (Second Award), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Meritorious Service Medal (Fourth Award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal (Second Award). He also received the Surgeon General of the United States Exemplary Service Award and United States Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award. Dick McConnell – 1978-1981 ARLINGTON, Va.-Former NAFCU CEO Dick McConnell not only served in a variety of positions at NAFCU, but also a variety of trade associations, including those for banks and thrifts. While he continues to work at a credit union-related company-McConnell is director of marketing at credit union data processor AFTECH-work outside of work is keeping him pretty busy these days as well. While a managing partner of CoVest, a credit union publishing and consulting organization, McConnell did some consulting for AFTECH, developing a strategic growth plan, and was subsequently hired to implement the plan as director of marketing. He also performs a lot of volunteer work with low-income housing or sheltering the homeless through Habitat for Humanity, Chester County, Pa; Carpenter’s Lodgings, The Carpenter’s Shelter, and Christmas in April in Alexandria, Va. Though he has been a construction volunteer, he mainly concentrates on the administrative or political ends. He is active in the vestry at his church, and is currently organizing a hymn-writing contest to celebrate the church’s 175 anniversary in 2007. “For me to write a hymn would be a life-long project, but apparently there are people who can dash off masterpieces while waiting for the bus!” McConnell quipped. He said they have received entries from around the globe. McConnell met his wife of 10 years now singing in the church choir. He also likes to bike and sail. During his seven years at NAFCU, McConnell served as a lobbyist, director of public affairs, CEO of NAFCU Services Corp., and then CEO of NAFCU and NSC from December 1978 through December 1981. Immediately after leaving NAFCU, McConnell became a partner at Golembe Associates, a bank public affairs / mergers and acquisitions practice and then one of the original members of Lykes, Duff, Sarver, and McConnell, owners of data processor FedComp, which he billed as “the most widely used data processing system in credit unions today.” But before NAFCU, McConnell’s trade association experience came from the American Bankers Association and the National Savings and Loan League. He had also served as the Washington editor of Banking magazine. From 1968 to 1970, he served his country as an instructor and drill sergeant at the First Army NCO Academy at Fort Dix, N.J. and exited the Army as a staff sergeant. Mal Nestlerode – 1981-1983 ARLINGTON, Va.-Mal Nestlerode, who served as NAFCU’s CEO from 1981 to 1983, is retired now at the age of 78, but still involved in credit unions. He currently serves on the board of Educational Community Credit Union, which he pointed out is a state charter. The former NAFCU chief will also be attending Annual Conference this year. By his own account, he has only missed a handful since he left NAFCU. Actually, Nestlerode noted, he really retired three times: once from NAFCU, once from IBM Federal Credit Union in Manassas, Va., and once from Marriott Credit Union in Bethesda, Md. After this final retirement, he commented, “I finally got my fair share of golf in.” His time at NAFCU encompassed some crucial years for credit unions. NAFCU worked to get share drafts for credit unions and successfully pushed to repeal a tax on credit union dividends before it even became effective. Though about 100 people attended a meeting and voted in favor of chartering NAFCU, Nestlerode claims he is the sole survivor of the five core founders of NAFCU. The initial group of federal examiners brainstormed the idea for the organization mainly to establish federal government-backed deposit insurance. NAFCU was chartered in 1967, he recalled. Nestlerode also spent 25 years at Marquardt Credit Union and done financial consulting for troubled credit unions. He also served as NAFCU’s treasurer for 13 years, and he was on the committee that hired James Barr, NAFCU’s first CEO, and another NAFCU CEO, Richard McConnell. After his `real’ retirement, with his children and grandchildren living on the West Coast, Nestlerode moved out to the Seattle area. James Barr – 1970-1978 ARLINGTON, Va.-Former NAFCU CEO James Barr has not followed credit unions too closely since he left NAFCU in 1978. He has served as a trustee for the Trust of Credit Unions, an investment fund for credit unions composed of a money market fund and an ultra-short and a short fund, since 1988. “That keeps me involved in issues and with people. That’s been a very rewarding experience,” Barr commented. But major credit union conferences are not for him. “There’s nothing more has been than a has-been,” he joked. Barr explained that he has been to a couple conferences since leaving the industry but, once one leaves the industry you may not have much to contribute so they might not acknowledge you at a conference, if that. Not only was Barr NAFCU’s first paid, full-time CEO, he was also NAFCU’s first paid, full-time staffer period. William Richards had served as executive director but was on a contractual basis, he said. (Mal Nestlerode, another past NAFCU CEO said Richards had worked as a volunteer.) After leaving NAFCU, Barr became the head of CUNA’s Washington office from 1978-1985. He eventually retired as president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation in March of 1999. Initially in his retirement, Barr and his wife, Sara, had bought 18 acres in Virginia and a boat, but the location was too out of the way for Sara. For the last eight months, one is more likely to find him on a golf course in Williamsburg, Va.-his handicap is around 20-where they are having a home built. When not on the links, Barr said their three grandsons and granddaughter take up a good bit of their time. He also traveled to Tuscany, Italy earlier this year. Some other domestic locations the couple has hit fairly recently include Chicago and New York City. Ken Robinson – 1984-2000 ARLINGTON, Va.-Kenneth L. Robinson served 16 years at the helm of NAFCU, from 1984 until 2000, in which time he became a symbol of the credit union movement. During his tenure at NAFCU he was active with the White House, Treasury, Federal Reserve and NCUA as well as with key committees on Capitol Hill. He continues to do consulting work in his second retirement. Before joining NAFCU, Robinson retired as a major general from the U.S. Marine Corp in 1983. He then briefly worked at NCUA assisting troubled credit unions before heading up the trade association. He was profiled in Forbes magazine, as well as, American Banker, which also included Robinson among the top 40 most influential financial people in Washington at the time. While serving in the Marine Corps, Robinson earned his master’s degree in financial management from The George Washington University, where he also served on the school’s Business and Public Management Associates’ Council, and performed volunteer work with three different credit unions, including serving on the board of Navy Federal Credit Union.

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